crampsAny woman who's ... well, any woman who's ever been a woman knows that our wonderful menstrual cycle affects a lot more than most people (men) realize. For example, a recent study found that asthma symptoms get worse around the time of ovulation. (Which, if you have asthma, is probably something you've known for a long time.)

The usual period-related suspects (cramps, bloating, moodiness, breakouts) are bad enough, but those havoc-wreaking hormones are to blame for a slew of other very unpleasant symptoms. The good news? Once you know what those crazy ch-ch-ch-changes are actually doing to your body, you can figure out a way to cope. (Leaders of the asthma study suggest adjusting women's medication during ovulation.) Here are some more ways your menstrual cycle messes with you (and helpful tips to try):

1. Cholesterol levels rise. Between days 1 and 13, total cholesterol levels rise by almost 20%! Make sure to schedule doctor's appointments around the same time every month so your readings are consistent.

2. You're a klutz. It's not just your imagination -- also between days 1 and 13, muscle control decreases. Not the best time to try new, complicated workouts!

3. You can't think straight. Again, not just your imagination -- between days 14 and 15, estrogen levels make concentrating difficult. Cut yourself some slack at work.

4. Your gums HURT. Between days 16 and 18, gums swell and get way more sensitive. Reschedule that appointment with the dentist!!

So the next time somebody (male) makes some inane comment about your "time of the month" being a silly "excuse," kick him in the shin sit him down and calmly give his dumb ass a biology lesson.

How does your menstrual cycle affect you?

 

Image via Helga Weber/Flickr